Number 2 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : After a struggling writer get’s a job looking after the Overlook Hotel as a caretaker for the winter, something happens to him and his family in extreme & unforgiving ways : Based on Stephen King’s best selling novel of the same name and directed by Stanley Kubrick THE SHINING is an unforgettable journey into the mind of addiction, isolation, family and supernatural terror that has effected me over the years since it’s release back in 1980, I don’t think I’ve ever drooled over or talked about a movie more than this horror masterpiece : very much like Jaws that was written by Peter Benchley The Shining is an example where the movie is better than it’s original source and the changes they made when bringing it to the screen were not only in my eyes justified but add so much to the film’s scare factor, it’s scale and overall stigma : take the main differences for example, the infamous twins that scare the life out of Danny in the movie are not in the book, the blood filled elevators spilling out into the hallway is not in the book, the atmospheric maze and clever icy cold climax is not in the book and the words Jack was typing all Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy is not in the book, of course I have always been of the opinion that writers should never allow their work to be messed with & for some reason Stephen King allowed big chunks of his book to be altered, but I do believe that the changes made add so much to the terrifying nature of Kubrick’s masterpiece that watching The Shining without these would be a poorer experience : in fairness as with the Top Five Movies on the list The Shining could easily be Number One, it’s scares me because it’s about a family, their isolation and the effect The Overlook has on them all through the harshest of winters in Colorado : from it’s opening shots of the camera following Jack’s car up the mountain road to The Overlook accompanied by it’s hair raising score, Jack breaking down the bathroom door with an axe whilst reciting Little pigs, little pigs, let me come in. Not by the hair of your chiny-chin-chins? and the epic confrontation on the stairwell that involves a baseball bat there are just so many memorable scenes in The Shining but one of them always manages to mess me up and it’s when Jack chastises Wendy for disturbing his place of work in the hotel, you can see the pain etched onto Wendy’s face as her husband says “Wendy let me explain something to you, whenever you come in here and interupt me your breaking my concentration, your distracting me….” the scene is emotional as you not only start to fear for Wendy’s safety but also feel sorry for her and the way that she is being treated, it’s scary because you are now seeing the changes manifesting themselves in Jack and it’s sensational because of it’s deliverance by two actors on top of their game in Nicholson and Duvall : other factors that make The Shining such an amazing movie experience range from it’s eye catching us of color, including The Gold Room’s bathroom with it’s stunning red decor, Room 237’s evocative green & orange bathroom & the mesmerising carpeted hallways throughout, a terrific performance from Danny Lloyd who plays Danny, those tricycle scenes are just Iconic and his psychic abilities lend to some rather creepy, blood soaked images & that moment Wendy is trying to comfort her son and then sees the word REDRUM reversed in the bedroom mirror is unbelievably chilling : overall The Shining is an emotional rollercoaster ride, a character driven horror piece that’s as visually disturbing as it is stunning ★★★★★
Number 14 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : After moving into an apartment with her husband, Rosemary begins to hear and dream strange things, and she starts to suspect her perculiar neighbors are up to no good : I’ve watched Rosemary’s Baby dozens of times down the years and I’m still as disturbed by it’s general foreboding as I was when I first watched it back in the late 80’s, with it’s narrative ranging from pregnancy, satanism to demonic rape it’s a movie that slowly and subtly builds, chipping away at your nerve ends until it’s shocking finale : there are times during the movie when William Fraker’s photography makes me feel slightly claustrophobic especially the early scenes in the lift and apartment block, the close-up scenes of the sensational Mia Farrow and work behind the camera throughout really adds to it’s feeling of nauseating unease : I love the suspense and sheer drama of the phone box scene (which I believe was done in one take) and the discovery at the film’s finale but there’s no question when Rosemary passes out after eating Minnie’s chocolate mousse only to wake find scratches on her body with her husband admitting to having sex with her whilst she was unconcious to be the most terrifying, pulse racing scene of all : so if your expecting a blood curdling, jump a minute horror film then think again, Rosemary’s Baby is a mess with your head, psychological masterpiece that will lure you in and unsettle even the most hardened of minds, it’s been 52yrs since it’s release and it still kick’s like a newborn ★★★★★
Number 20 of My Top 31 Horror Movies : Carrie White is a shy teenage girl, sheltered in life by her domineering mother, unleashes her telekinetic powers after being humiliated by her classmates at her senior prom : As Stephen King movie adaptions go Brian De Palma’s CARRIE is the finest to date, a supernatural horror centered around high school bullying, bad parenting and the over powering use of religion : like King’s novel Carrie is heartbreaking to watch and the way De Palma’s movie shows Carrie’s transformation from innocence to power weilding destroyer is quite terrifying : I know some people will always criticise the changes from book to movie but in fairness the only change which I was slightly unhappy with was how Carrie killed her momma played in the movie by the deliciously evil Piper Laurie (in the book Carrie killed her by stopping her heart with her powers, in De Palma’s movie she was killed by various knives nailing her to the wall like a Crucifixion) : along with the great Sissy Spacek & Piper Laurie I was absolutley floored by Nancy Allen’s turn as Chris, her nasty, lick lipping performance is enough to make you spit blood and absolutley loathe her character : the use of sound and score by Pino Donaggio is enough to stand your hair on end and De Palma captures each scene with haunting precision and although the bucket scene at the prom is the film’s most talked about moment and by god it made my stomach turn, my favourite has to be when Carrie is argueing with her momma whilst getting ready to be picked up by Tommy and taken to the prom, it’s terrific piece of acting by both, the bed scene is still quite unnerving “Sit Down” yells Carrie and you can see the fear in Piper Laurie’s eye’s as she’s pinned to the bed : CARRIE (the 1976 version) is as powerful and disturbing today as it was back upon it’s release, a film full of religious themes and supernatural elements that shock, anger and reward thanks to it’s great performances & disturbing narrative ★★★★★
When Enola Holmes Sherlock’s teen sister discovers her mother has gone missing, she sets off on her own adventure to not only find her but unravel a conspiracy around a mysterious young Lord : A DELIGHT FROM START TO FINISH Enola Holmes is fresh, inventive and SO MUCH FUN : the films energy is straight from the get-go as we watch Millie Bobby Brown’s Enola cycling through the English Country Side speaking into the camera ala Frank Underwood, narrating the story as she goes : first impressions IT’S WONDERFUL, from the bright colours, the costumes & the humor everything is so ALIVE : I loved the gorgeous sets (especially London), the encounters between Enola & the evil Linthorn are superb with sharp choreography, Burn Gorman doesn’t go easy on our heroine : the casting too is splendid with a few of my favourite actors delivering fun work such as Fiona Shaw’s Miss Harrison the boarding school head mistress (who’s utterly terrifying), Helena Bonham Carter’s mummy Holmes (is all sweet & cuddly) and Sam Claflin’s tough older brother Mycroft (boooooo), but without question the movie ultimately belongs to Millie who’s bright as a button humor & deliverance is terrific, her cheeky narration and glancing at the camera with those big eyes is MAGNIFICENT : I loved the way we see flashbacks of Enola’s times spent with her mother, growing up and learning martial arts and her clever deduction using scrabble pieces, her interation with Tewkesbury & Edith and of course the small screen time she shares with her older brother Sherlock played by Henry Cavill which is a delight but kept to a minimum (after all the story is about Enola and not Mr Holmes) : Enola Holmes is one of the BEST franchise builders for many a year, a real breath of fresh air with it’s star Millie Bobby Brown delivering a smart young detective for the 21st Century : the film’s a perfect blend of action, humor & romance that is brilliantly directed by Fleabag & Killing Eve’s Harry Bradbeer ★★★★½
The Beguiled adapted by film maker Sofia Coppola from Thomas Cullinan’s novel of the same name – the story unfolds in a girls’ school in the state of Virginia in 1864. As the Civil War rages, The Miss Martha Farnsworth Seminary for Young Ladies has been sheltered from the outside world— until the day a wounded Union soldier is discovered nearby and taken in
WOW that trailer gives me the goosebumps – and now you can see why I named this movie in My Top 10 to get psyched over in 2017 – with such a mouth watering cast including Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning, Kirsten Dunst and Angourie Rice, a film-maker and writer in Sofia Coppola that excites and seduces with each sumptuous picture she directs, I’m confident that THE BEGUILED this summer will be another slice of cinema magic that I can not wait for….
After being thrilled by Jonathan Blakeson’s excellent “The Disappearance of Alice Creed” I was intrigued to see how he dealt with an alien invasion movie with a slightly bigger budget and a cast of young upcoming Hollywood – sadly The 5th Wave was not what I hoped for, it lacked the grittiness, the devil of similar movies in its genre, the movie lacked energy and I felt considering it’s storyline was nowhere near dark enough – at times it felt like I was watching a really tame TV movie – the undoubted talents of Chloë Grace Moretz and Maika Monroe were wasted, with the latter being very underused having little screen time of which is a real shame as she steals every scene she’s part of – Overall as movies go The 5th Wave is a pretty average affair, it’s predictable, add’s nothing new to the apocalyptic world style of movie and most of all the reveal of the actual threat to earth is such a big let down – the film is watchable but only just ★★★
Captain America: Civil War picks up where “Avengers: Age of Ultron” left off, as Steve Rogers leads the new team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. After another international incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to enlist the services of the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers while they try to protect the world from a new and nefarious villain
Sad News – the Swedish-Born actress Anita Ekberg has died aged 83 – known primarily for her looks Anita Ekberg could also act winning a Golden Globe in 1956 for Promising Newcomer and wooing Hollywood with some decent performances in movies such as Blood Alley that starred John Wayne, with Audrey Hepburn in 1956’s War & Peace, alongside Bob Hope in Paris Holiday and opposite Jack Palance in 58’s The Man Inside before landing her biggest, most important role in 1960 & making everybody’s heart beat that little quicker in Federico Fellini‘s classic La Dolce Vita that Trevi Fountain scene still iconic to this day – R.I.P. & thanks for the movie memories !
Finally our first look at BIG GAME the latest feature from that wonderful Finnish filmmaker Jalmari Helander (Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale) – Big Game has a great cast that includes: Samuel L. Jackson, Ray Stevenson, Jim Broadbent, Felicity Huffman, Ted Levine, Jorma Tommila and of course the wonderful Onni Tommila – after watching this teaser (four times) I am so excited… Enjoy
“The fate of the most powerful man in the world lies in the hands of a 13-year-old boy. Plunged into a deadly game of cat and mouse, Oskari and the president must team up to survive the most extraordinary night of their lives”
Here’s two new images from movies that already have my film juices flowing – the top still is from Guy Ritchie’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E. yep that one! based on the popular 1960s TV series and stars Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander, Elizabeth Debicki and Jared Harris – and the bottom image is from EVEREST starring Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes and Jake Gyllenhaal and is directed by Baltasar Kormákur – Enjoy !!
There’s always been great movies that have come out of Australia : Walkabout, Picnic at hanging Rock, Mad Max, Gallipoli, Crocodile Dundee, Dead Calm, Romper Stomper, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Tomorrow When the War Began, Animal Kingdom, Wolf Creek, Snowtown & many many more… And in 2014 Australian Cinema has continued its fine tradition of bringing us yet more fresh, well acted, gritty & excitingly told new movies – of course there are so many quality films out there but here’s my 5 must see Aussie flicks of 2014
Here’s 2 brand new movie posters – on the left is the teaser for the 24th James Bond outing titled SPECTRE that sees the return of Daniel Craig as super spy 007 and behind the camera once more Sam Mendes – the confirmed cast also includes Dave Bautista, Léa Seydoux, Monica Belluci and Christoph Waltz excited yet? – on the right hand side the latest reboot of Sci-fi franchise TERMINATOR GENISYS that’s helmed by Alan Taylor (Thor 2) and stars Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke, Spartacus star Jai Courtney and the return of “I’ll be Back” and the man who started it all Arnold Schwarzenegger !!